MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
04/04/2014 4:58 PM
04/04/2014 5:03 PM
Real Salt Lake (2-0-2) at Kansas City (2-1-1), 8:30 p.m.
Kansas City, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Sporting Kansas City will welcome Real Salt Lake to Sporting Park on Saturday for a rematch of MLS Cup 2013.
Kansas City hosted Salt Lake in last year's final and slightly edged its Western Conference rival through a 10-round penalty shootout.
And by making such stellar starts to the new campaign, both teams appear to have their sights set on a return to the postseason finale.
Sporting has won two straight to rise to second place in the Eastern Conference while Salt Lake remains unbeaten through its opening four games for just the second time in club history.
Kansas City's last outing, a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rapids, saw the club go unbeaten in three league games while scoring a season-high three goals.
"It showed a lot about our team, because basically we weren't on today," head coach Peter Vermes said after the match. "I think what we did was that we kept pushing and kept trying. I don't think that we were firing on all cylinders today, but what I do think is that we kept playing and kept trying to push it."
Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, cruised to an impressive 3-0 victory over Toronto FC last weekend, helping the club improve to 2-0-2 under first-year head coach Jeff Cassar.
"The best overall performance I think we�ve had," Cassar said of the win. "Offensively, I thought we were great with the ball and had a lot of good ideas and I thought our defensive shape was fantastic. We gave up some chances - not too many chances. I thought it was a really mature performance from our guys."
Salt Lake had four players - goalkeeper Nick Rimando, defender Tony Beltran and midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Luis Gil - called into the U.S. national team for a midweek friendly vs. Mexico, the most of any MLS team. Cassar has not divulged a plan on what type of role those players will have at Sporting on Saturday.
"Obviously, we miss those guys, but it's time for other people to step up, and today was fantastic," Cassar said. "(It) kind of messes up your rhythm just a little bit, but they're coming back on Thursday. We'll get a nice session in, and we'll try to cover a few things in the session on Friday."
RSL should be able to rely on Alvaro Saborio, who has scored three goals in the last two games. He netted two goals against Toronto, his 13th career multiple-goal game in 101 league appearances.
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